Monday, October 30, 2006

Chronicles from Eberron--The Tale of Harrigan the Horrible (Chapter 4)

Having arrived in the city of Stormreach, Harrigan and his companions head deep into the jungles of Xen'drik in search of Khyber dragonshards. Their search leads them to the ruins of a giantish citadel, where Harrigan has a brush with death...

Aye, I knew it wasn't goin' to be a good day. It'd been one o' those weeks.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'd enjoyed my time in Stormreach. The gnome, Johnny and I had lived it up like nobody's business. Even got meself a new tattoo--a series o' Giantish runes that run across me chest. It'd been a great week. However, once we had to get down to business, life was the sort that'd curl yer beard.

We started out headin' towards an outpost in the midst o' the jungle called Last Chance--great place to call it, thinks me--when we were jumped by more of the damned dinos that we fought earlier. Only problems were that these ones were big--real big. We're talkin' big enough to crack your mine's walls big. That, and the fact that I was busy tryin' to teach the damned gnome some more o' the Common tongue. That's rough enough by itself, but havin' to leap into battle in the midst of it....ugh.

We leapt into the midst o' things, with Jackie already in after 'em and Lil singin' to her heart's content. Damned fool girl. She'll get us all killed if she keeps enterin' combat with a song, rather than a sharp blade or a good spell. I pulled off a Tremor spell which knocked the dinos on their asses, but all she did was sing.

Now, honestly. Ye tell me, what do ye do with someone like that? She sings. Sings! We're fightin' for our lives and what does she do? Sings. Damned addlecoved berks. The gnome was nearly bitten in half, Khin was fallin' all over himself with panic, and Johnny was overheatin' in his armor, and she's singin'. Go figure.

The little shifter did manage to pump off a spell herself--one that managed to actually do some mage to the damned things. She'll be worth her luster someday, no doubt--it's just that for now, she's a pain in the ass.

At any rate, we managed to make it to Last Chance somewhat intact, and I started the next day with a fine Dwarven Breakfast. There's nothin' on or under good earth like startin' out knowin' that five animals had to die to feed ye in the morning.

However, good breakfast or now, I knew the day wasn't goin' well. For one, we started out trackin' the shards by havin' the gnome read the map. Yeah, the gnome.

Yes, the gnome can't read. Aye, we must be as barmy as a power near the Spire. We somehow arrived at some old ruins of a statue sayin' "Beware of Sharataz, fire giant sorcerer. Continue and face my wrath."

Aye, I know more than my share about giants. I know how powerful they were, back in the day when they fought the Demons, the Quori and the damned drow without half the time needed for a good ale. I also know that a fair piece of their power--their items and the like--can be found in their ruins. That said, roamin' around fire giant tombs isn't my idea of a day of work. However, that's where the shards were, so we headed towards the entrance.

We also had one minor problem--the aforementioned damned drow. A party of four of 'em were headin' down the mountain straight for us. That's when Jackie came up with a bright idea. The mountain was barely a pile o' loose rock, so he asked me about settin' up another Tremor right near 'em. So, I made with the earthshakin' and ran like a scared cave boar.

The ensuin' avalance buried the drow, gettin' 'em out of our hair once and for all. Three of 'em were dead when we arrived, and the last was barely clingin' to life. I fixed that with my new spell--somethin' I picked up in Adar called Crystalline Memories.

Basic premise is this--I reach into someone's mind and basically start turnin' their brain to crystal. If I manage to pull it off, I can pull it out o' their skull and into my hand, then use it to see what they've been thinkin'. Needless to say, it's a nasty little spell.

Basically, we got a bit of info from him about where the shards were--in the midst of a field right past ol' Sharataz' tomb. We headed into the cave and went from there.

Only problem was--by the Hells, I say that a lot in this thing--we weren't alone. Damned little spidery things, like bugs or such, were infestin' the place. I wanted to hang onto my spells for a tick, knowing the Sharataz's tomb probably wasn't unguarded, so I settled on a Fist o' Stone and drew that crystal sword that I picked up in Aundair.

Now, I can hold my own in a fight--there are damned louts in Karrnath that'll tell ye the same--but that gnome? That's a fair fellhammer right there. He ripped the little buggers up like flint under a mithril hammer.

It was the next bit that really fired me beard...lit'rally. In order to get to Sharataz's tomb, we had to cross the ruins of this old bridge across a volcanic outlet. I've crossed so many bridges in my life like that, that you'd figure it'd just be walkin'.

No. No such luck.

I fell in. The lava. I fell in the damned lava. I don't know why or how--I guess I just slipped--but I fell in the damned lava and damned near sank.

I don't know who pulled me out--I've never felt pain like that in me life, so I wasn't focusin' on who's hand I grabbed up. All I could do was howl.

Johnny jumped up and chanted some words. I couldn't even make 'em out, but once he did, his hand started radiatin' somethin' powerful and all the pain was suddenly gone. Th' burnt flesh, the charring....all gone. He cured me.

I couldn't even breathe by that point. I had no idea of what to do or say. He just nodded at me and we moved on.

After a little bit of argument, we decided upon gettin' the shards first, before seein' what old Sharataz had left behind for us. We headed around the back, towards the shard-field. Khin and Johnny started out trying to lasso the things, with only a little bit of luck. Frustrated already, I wasn't about to wait around for them to mess around with it. A few castings of Mage Hand did the trick, and we had an armload of Khyber shards to show for it.

From there, we headed on in. Sharataz's tomb was strangely deserted, which made me all the more nervous. Right in the middle, though, there was something crazy going on. A massive staff, made of hardened black and red lava, sat up on a pedastal right in front of a massive gravesite.

Jackie checked the thing for traps, but even he wasn't confident in his work. He pulled out a retractable pole, ready to knock the staff down, but I had a better idea and less patience than to put up with his crap. I pulled out an Earthen Grasp and had it toss me the staff. Immediately, two wacky things happened: the ground around the tomb started rumblin', and the staff got smaller in my hands--small enough for me to wield and use.

Well, wouldn't ya know it, ol' Sharataz wasn't quite dead yet. Seemed to have some fight in him yet, because he rose on out of the grave and went on the assault.

I'll spare ye the details, but suffice to say that puttin' down ol' Sharataz wasn't pretty. Jackie, Khin, and the gnome charged on in, takin' more than their share of pain. Johnny hung back and let loose with a Searing Light spell. Again, the damned bard sung. We were lucky to survive that last Earthbolt killed the damned thing. I can thank the fine fellas of House Kundarak for that one--it was the Empowering Rod I bought from them that let me take out Sharataz.

To say the least, I kept the staff. There was a fair amount of loot to go around, within Sharataz's grave, which was fine for the rest. Right now, I'm still tryin' to figure out all the things that it can do. Thusfar, it can light itself on fire, can cast Fireball, Wall of Fire, can change rock to mud, and can summon elementals. Not too bad--not typically my cup of tea, but it's been all right so far.

Supposedly--at least accordin' to the inscriptions on that pedastal--there are three other weapons that the giants had out at the same time. I, for one, don't care too much. We've already got a job to take care of, and I'd rather focus on the meanwhile, though, I'm goin' to just get myself a drink. It's been far too long of a journey as it is.

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